Five months after the last GOC London walk it was a pleasure to see two groups of enthusiastic hikers turning up for this attractive 11 mile walk. The walk was held on two dates, on 1st and 15th August respectively. Considering the walk lies entirely in London and ends in the inner suburbs, it contains an incredible amount of green space. It follows the Dollis Brook for several miles via a series of linear urban greenways, then makes an entry into the prosperous residential area of Hampstead Garden Suburb, and finally rises to cross Hampstead Heath from north west to south east.
From High Barnet station we followed the Dollis Valley Green Walk, passing through a series of open spaces: Brook Farm, Whetstone Stray, Riverside Walk, Oakdene Park and Windsor. Here, following the first group’s encounter with a happy drunk, we made a quick refreshment stop. Both groups were particularly impressed with the efforts of the Fursby Avenue Allotment Society whose name sounds as though it should have been the title of a song by the Kinks! Their fruit, vegetables and flowers must be prize winners!
On leaving Windsor Open Space we continued via Mutton Brook to Little Wood where we enjoyed lunch in a small shady outdoor performance area which we had to ourselves.
After lunch we left Little Wood only to enter Big Wood(!) before arriving at Hampstead Heath Extension. There were a couple of groans as we climbed Two Trees Hill where two 300 year old oaks preside over the rest of the wood. Entering the main part of Hampstead Heath, we pressed onwards to take in panoramic views over London from Parliament Hill where we were due an afternoon break. Apparently underwhelmed by the view, Group 1 decided that they would rather enjoy a coffee served by the café at the bottom of the hill! Group 2, however, enjoyed an extended break to admire what they could see on a somewhat overcast day. On leaving the Heath we continued via series of 'hidden’ alleyways to the walk's end at Kentish Town station.
So how has lockdown affected our hiking friends? That we may never know but what we do know is that some had been driven mad by their neighbours, a couple had been kept sane by their lodgers, one or two confessed to putting on a pound or two, others decided that perhaps they weren’t quite as fit as they thought and some have decided to walk more regularly.
Congratulations go to Richard Norman (group 1) and Robin Reed (group 2) for winning the end of walk quiz and taking home the star prize for the day! The answer was 28!!
Good fun and worth repeating at some point.